Oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin (also known as O.K. Lim), who is also the founder of Hin Leong Trading, was charged in court on August 14 with the abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating.

According to court documents, Lim was accused on instigating a contracts executive of the company to transfer over one million barrels of oil to China Aviation Oil (Singapore) through a fraudulent Inter-Tank Transfer Certificate (ITT Certificate) on March 19.

The document was also used to secure over US$56 million ($76.8 million) in trade financing from a financial institution.

Lim has been given court bail of $3 million, his case will be heard next on September 25.

If convicted, the offence of forgery or the abetment of forgery carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a fine.

On Thursday, the Singapore High Court appointed Grant Thornton Singapore as interim judicial managers for Xihe Holdings, the exempt private company owned by Lim and his son.

The Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), which was one of Hin Leong’s lenders, had filed an application to appoint an interim judicial manager, citing “strong distrust” in Xihe’s management. The filing, which received support from Hin Leong’s other credits, came after there was evidence of fraud at the oil company in April.

Lim and his children own almost 140 ships through Xihe Holdings, its affiliate Xihe Capital, and subsidiaries.

As of April 9, Hin Leong reported liabilities of US$4.05 billion versus assets of US$714 million. The value of its inventory held is estimated at US$141 million, which is vastly different from the US$1.28 billion stated on Oct 31, 2019.

On April 19, the company was found to have failed to declare US$800 million in losses racked up in futures trading.

On June 24, Hin Leong was found to have forged its documents on a “massive scale” to hide its losses.

Lim has resigned from all his posts in the company and its subsidiaries from April 17. His son, Evan Lim Chee Meng has taken over and is now leading the effort to restructure the company.

Lim has also stepped down from his post at Xihe Holdings in April. The company has been managed by independent directors since.

Another business owned by the Lim family, Ocean Tankers, is also currently under judicial management.

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